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Anti-Israel activists vandalize historic artwork in UK (VIDEO)

Pro-Palestine campaigners spray and cut a portrait of a British politician involved in creating the state of Israel

A pro-Palestine group has spray-painted and slashed a painting of Lord Arthur James Balfour, an early 20th Century British foreign secretary who supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in what is now Israel.

A video filmed at Trinity College, Cambridge, and released on Friday by Palestinian Action, showed an activist spraying the 1914 portrait of the statesman – by Hungarian-born artist Philip Alexius de Laszlo – and cutting it with a sharp object multiple times.

Balfour is best remembered for a 1917 declaration that paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel. Palestinian Action said the document marked the start of ‘ethnic cleansing in Palestine’.

The Balfour declaration promised to build “a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, where the majority of the indigenous population were not Jewish,” the statement published on the group’s official website reads. “He gave away the Palestinians homeland – a land that wasn’t his to give away.”

The UK has seen frequent pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protests since October 7 last year, when the militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and launching a military operation in Gaza. Over 30,228 Palestinians have died in the conflict so far, according to Gaza health authorities. 

Earlier this week, students from the University of Leeds occupied a campus building in protest at the university’s ties with Israel. The demonstrators demanded that university authorities dismiss the university rabbi, who returned to serve in the Israeli army after October 7.

Last month, tens of thousands of people reportedly took part in a pro-Palestinian march in central London, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In January, a group of pro-Palestinian activists were arrested on suspicion of plotting to disrupt the work of the London stock exchange, and another group of protesters briefly blocked roads outside parliament. In November, Palestine supporters staged a sit-in at King’s Cross station in central London.

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March 09, 2024 at 04:04PM

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